Seattle imposes 15% fee cap on restaurant delivery businesses

Seattle’s City Council has voted to implement a permanent 15% cap on fees restaurant delivery businesses charge restaurants. This follows San Francisco City Council doing similar last year.

The cap had been in place since April 2020 when emergency measures were introduced to support local businesses in the pandemic.

Council members Dan Strauss and and Alex Pedersen had introduced the local bill, which has a provision that delivery businesses can charge more if they offer additional services such as marketing and consulting.

San Francisco has implemented the permanent fee cap in 2021, also with the provision for additional fees for consulting and advertising. A number of restaurant delivery businesses sued New York City applied similar provisions.

“We know that capping food delivery fees during the pandemic benefited both our smallest businesses and consumers,” Strauss said prior to the vote, adding that it “remains a good foundation for long-term recovery.”

With two council members absent, Seattle City Council passed the bylaw 7-0. Even while unhappy with the new regulations, the restaurant delivery businesses affected are generally accepting.

Uber for example, said in a statement that the company “hoped for a more collaborative approach from the City Council.” However, the statement added, Uber supports “permanent delivery fee language that allows restaurants to have the flexibility in selecting the services that best suit their business and sets up restaurant owners for success in an increasingly competitive industry while paying for the services they actually need.”

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